By Madisen Carter
Homestead High School Sophomore, Alex Toon, has been working towards his goal of playing for the Varsity Basketball Team. He has been on the Junior Varsity team since his Freshman year and has been putting in the work during small group workouts and private training sessions at Unlimited Potential Basketball to advance his skill set and get him to the next level.
Toon has been playing basketball since the summer going into sixth grade. He explained that once he shot the ball, he instantly fell in love with the game and knew he would want to keep playing and continue to get better in the sport. Once he got into seventh grade, he started training at UPB to prepare him for high school basketball.
“[During] my freshman season I was struggling, and I was kind of playing a smaller role on the team, and I really wanted to get better,” Toon said. “I thought that going to UPB every week was going to help me get there, and it did. So I just integrated the things that I learned from UPB like ball handling. I did it at home, and that's how I really excelled at having that better role and [better] position to play Varsity this year.”
Last season, Toon believed that it was all about fitting in and finding out what role he can play on the team. He said as he has continued to practice and excel in his game, during this new season, his coach now sees him as a leader on the team. Toon motivates his teammates to keep moving forward and to keep the mindset of working hard.
Toon’s goal for the team this season is to keep developing and to win. He said when they all play together well, they are unstoppable. Personally, his goal is to keep doing what he is doing and be consistent. He has hopes of being pulled up to the Varsity if the team makes it to the playoffs.
“...Getting pulled up to Varsity during playoffs, that was my goal before the season even started. That was just my goal because I want to keep going to the next level and just go as far as I can go,” Toon said. “I think JV has been great. I've been averaging double digits but you know, that's not the highest level you can play, and I want to play at the highest level. I believe I can play at [that level,] so that’s my goal.”
To help reach that goal, Toon has been working with UPB’s Player Development Coach, DyShawn Hobson, in private training sessions. Starting off, Hobson had Toon work on his ball handling and control before moving on to more advanced shooting drills, touch and finishing around the rim. Every training session is different, and Hobson continues to push Toon forward.
“Along with Alex's basketball skill improvement, I think his mindset to each session has improved. He takes constructive criticism well and he has a really good growth mindset, which has led us to get more out of each training session. I think that has benefited him the most, and will help him well in his basketball future,” Coach DyShawn said.
With the season ending in February, Toon is going to continue to train and work hard towards his goals of going to the next level. With his determination to get better, and putting time into physically and mentally training, he will continue to progress in the game he instantly fell in love with years ago.
“[The game of basketball means a lot to me because] the culture and the relationships that I’ve made, and sort of just the maturity and development on and off the court,” Toon said. “I like the feeling of when your team's winning and you guys are all playing a good game, there's no better feeling than that. I just love the feeling of competitiveness.”